|Publication number||USRE41453 E1|
|Application number||US 12/019,370|
|Publication date||Jul 27, 2010|
|Filing date||Jan 24, 2008|
|Priority date||Feb 15, 2002|
|Also published as||US6989763, US20030156053|
|Publication number||019370, 12019370, US RE41453 E1, US RE41453E1, US-E1-RE41453, USRE41453 E1, USRE41453E1|
|Inventors||Justin D. Wall, David M. Wall|
|Original Assignee||Generation 2 Technology, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Referenced by (8), Classifications (13), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Four reissue applications have been filed for the reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 6,989,763. The reissue applications are application Ser. Nos. 12/019,370 (the present application); 12/019,390; 12/019,399; and 12/019,417, each of which is a voluntary divisional reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 6,989,763.
This invention relates generally to remote control devices for controlling electrical or electronic devices, such as televisions, stereos, light switches and hot tubs and, more particularly, to a universal remote control apparatus that is programmable through the downloading of software from the computer or from the Internet to permit the remote control apparatus to control any controllable device.
Remote controls are operable through either radio frequency or an infra red link to transmit control signals to the device to be controlled. Each manufacturer of a controllable device provides its own remote control apparatus for the device to be controlled. Many electrical or electronic devices are capable of being controlled remotely, including televisions and stereos, but also light systems, hot tubs, ceiling fans and home entertainment centers. Accordingly, it would not be unusual for a household to have multiple remote control devices each one being operable to provide a remote control of a different device. The proliferation of remote controls further contemplates their usage as the homeowner becomes confused as to how each remote control device operates or how the control device is to be programmed.
Some manufacturers provide a universal remote control device that is operable to control the operation of more than one electrical or electronic device. By properly programming such a universal remote control device, the remote control can provide different control frequencies or provide the proper control signals via an infra red beam to effect the remote control of at lest two devices, however, all such devices will be operated by radio frequency or by infra red. Furthermore, universal remote control devices are known to be difficult to program and to utilize.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a remote control device that is truly universal in that the remote control device would be operable to control every controllable device whether operable by radio signal or infra red beam.
It is an object of this invention to overcome the aforementioned disadvantages of the prior art by providing a universal remote control apparatus that is programmable by downloading software from a computer or Internet site.
It is another object of this invention to provide a remote control apparatus that is universal in operation by being capable of sending control signals by radio or by infra red.
It is a feature of this invention that the remote control apparatus has a memory that can store the control programming for many different controllable devices.
It is an advantage of this invention that the remote control apparatus is connectable to a computer to receive software downloaded therefrom.
It is another advantage of this invention that the remote control apparatus will be able to replace all other remote control devices.
It is another feature of this invention that the remote control apparatus has a display screen for which control buttons can be displayed for each controllable device for which remote control is desired.
It is still another advantage of this invention that the display screen can be customized by downloadable programming to mimic the manufacturer's remote control apparatus.
It is still another object of this invention to provide a remote control apparatus that can receive and store software defining the control function of multiple controllable devices.
It is still another feature of this invention that the remote control apparatus can learn control signals from a conventional infra red remote control apparatus.
It is yet another feature of this invention that the remote control apparatus can provide confirmation of the implementation of the control command that has been issued by receiving a response code from the controllable device.
It is still another advantage of this invention that the software loaded into the remote control apparatus can be edited to permit the information to be tailored to the specific needs of the operator.
It is yet another feature of this invention that the downloading of software into the remote control apparatus from a comparator can be utilized to display identical information on the screen of the computer as on the display screen of the remote control apparatus to allow testing and verification of the final programming into the remote control apparatus.
It is a further feature of this invention that a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) serves as the host for the remote control apparatus.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a remote control apparatus based on the architecture of a Personal Digital Assistant with a broad spectrum application in both infra red and radio signal to provide a universally utilizable remote control functions.
It is yet another advantage of this invention that the remote control apparatus can have a sealed housing that can be attached to a flotational device to allow the remote control apparatus to float on the surface of water, such as in a hot tub.
It is still a further advantage of this invention that the remote control apparatus can receive programming from software loaded through a computer, by connecting the remote control apparatus to the manufacturer's web site to download the requisite software into the remote control apparatus, or by receiving control signals from a conventional infra red remote control apparatus in a learn mode of operation.
It is yet a further object of this invention that the remote control apparatus has the ability to both send and receive multiple frequencies via radio signal, as well as by infra red beam.
It is yet another object of this invention to provide a remote control apparatus that is durable in construction, inexpensive of manufacture, carefree of maintenance, facile in assemblage, and simple and effective in use.
These and other objects, features and advantages are accomplished according to the instant invention by providing a universal remote control apparatus that is programmable with software supplied by manufacturers of controllable devices so that a single remote control apparatus has a broad spectrum application capable of operating many different controllable devices. The remote control apparatus is based in a Personal Digital Assistant (PAD) having sufficient memory to store the requisite software from a multitude of controllable devices and is operable to send or receive signals to the controllable devices by radio signal or by infra red beam. The remote control apparatus can be coupled to a personal computer to download the requisite software into the memory of the PDA, which can come via software supplied with the controllable device or by accessing the manufacturer's web site and downloading the necessary software therefrom. The display screen of the PDA can then be customized to replicate any control functions with a touch screen actuation control buttons. Switching from one controllable device to another is a simple mater of accessing a menu containing the list of the controllable devices for which software has been loaded. Utilizing a watertight housing for the PDA and attaching a flotational device to the hosing can enable the remote control apparatus to be floated on the surface of the water in the event the remote control is to be used in a hot tub or the like.
The advantages of this invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed disclosure of the invention, especially when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
Referring now to
As is depicted in
Internally of the casing 11, the remote control apparatus 10 is also provided with a radio signal transmitter (not shown) as is known in conventional remote control devices. As is depicted in
The remote control apparatus 10 is operable to store programming in the memory storage devices. The programming defines the manner in which the remote control apparatus 10 will operate. The programming for many different remote devices that are to be controlled can be stored in the memory storage devices within the remote control apparatus 10. The programming can be loaded into the memory storage devices in a number of different ways. As depicted in
Probably the most effective manner in which the programming can be loaded into the remote control apparatus 10 would be via a web site 33 established by the manufacturer of the machine or device to be controlled as is depicted in FIG. 7. The web site 33 would be accessible via the Internet and could be updated by the manufacturer as need arises. As with the programming loaded on the CD 27, the download of the programming from the manufacturer's web site can be loaded into the remote control apparatus 10 via the data cable 25. Preferably, the remote control apparatus 10 will have a broad spectrum application and will also be operable as conventional remote control devices, as is depicted in
Once loaded, the programming will provide a control panel 50 on the display screen 15 in the form of touch screen buttons or icons 52 to provide the manufacturer's control functions for the machine or device to be controlled. The programming will also define the manner in which the remote control apparatus 10 is to communicate with the machine or device to be controlled, i.e. whether control commands are to be broadcast via radio signal, and the frequency at which the signal is to be broadcast, or whether the control commands are to be sent via an infra red beam through the transmitting diode 19a. Preferably, the remote control apparatus 10 will have the built-in capability to allow the owner to modify the control panel 50 of touch screen button 52 on the display screen 15. In this manner the remote control apparatus 10 can truly be customized at the desire of the owner.
When multiple machines or devices are to be controlled through the remote control apparatus 10, the boot-up screen to be displayed on the display screen 15 when the remote control apparatus 10 is first powered-up should be a menu of the machines or devices that can be controlled. By selecting the desired machine or device, the remote control apparatus 10 will load into operation the programming for the selected machine or device, as customized by the owner, to display the touch screen buttons or icons 52 for the functions to be controlled on that particular selected machine or device. Returning to the menu screen, other machines or devices could be selected allowing the remote control apparatus 10 to toggle from one control mode to another. For each control mode, corresponding to a particular machine or device to be controlled, the display screen 15 will provide the control panel 50 that is peculiar to the machine or device that was selected. Each control panel 50 can be completely different from each other control panel 50 to be displayed on the display screen 15.
For example, a homeowner could have electrical switches installed in his house, a hot tub, a television, a stereo and a ceiling fan, all of which are capable of having functions thereof controlled through a remote control device. The homeowner places the remote control apparatus 10 into the docking cradle 20 and connect the docking cradle 20 to his personal computer 30 on which he accesses the manufacturer of each of the above-identified devices and downloads programming for each particular device into the remote control apparatus 10. The homeowner then takes the remote control apparatus 10 to the room in his house in which all of theses devices are situated. Powering up the remote control apparatus 10 and selecting the hot tub on the menu screen, the homeowner can touch the on/off button or icon 53 on the control panel 50 displayed on the display screen 15 and turn-on the hot tub by a radio signal transmitted by the remote control apparatus 10 that communicates with the power switch on the hot tub. The homeowner can then re-access the menu screen and select the television selection which then loads the appropriate programming into the microprocessor and displays a control panel 50 for the television. Touching the proper control panel button 53 to initiate power into the television results in a command being transmitted via the infra red beam through the transmitter diode that communicates with the power switch of the television. The software programming defines the mode of the command signal to be transmitted to the remote apparatus.
Similarly, the same remote control apparatus 10 can be manipulated to display a control panel 50 for the light switches to dim the lights, for example, and, on a separate display screen, to control the operating speed of a ceiling fan. For devices, such as lighting switches and ceiling fans, that do not have a large number of control buttons, the remote control apparatus 10 could be operable to display on the display screen 15 more than one control panel 50 at a time, such as on a split screen. By using the control buttons 14 on the remote control apparatus 10, the control panels 50 and other touch screen icons 52 for different devices and different functions can be toggled through from one to another. Such a remote control apparatus 10 would be truly a universal remote control capable of controlling every remotely controlled machine or device for which the programming can be loaded into the memory storage devices and executed by the microprocessor, or which can be “taught” from a conventional infra red remote control device.
As depicted in
It will be understood that changes in the details, materials, steps and arrangements of parts which have been described and illustrated to explain the nature of the invention will occur to and may be made by those skilled in the art upon a reading of this disclosure within the principles and scope of the invention. The foregoing description illustrates the preferred embodiment of the invention; however, concepts, as based upon the description, may be employed in other embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||340/12.3, 348/734, 348/134, 341/173, 341/176, 340/4.4, 340/12.53|
|International Classification||G08C19/28, G08C19/12|
|Cooperative Classification||G08C19/28, G08C2201/21, G08C2201/92|
|Sep 6, 2013||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jan 6, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jan 6, 2014||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 7